Good morning, good morning, good morning, Friends. Yesterday, I went for an early run, a pre-dinner walk, and in between made pancakes, wrapped up a deadline, and attempted to teach my newly permitted Abby how to drive in the local college parking lot. Phoebe went for a bike ride pretty much all day long, and after dinner the two of them made us sit and watch their favorite episode of Bojack Horseman on Netflix. (I’m sure you know this, but it’s dark and awesome, and not a show for young kids.) My friend Catherine Hong posted the above illustration on mrslittlebooks, her childrens’ book instagram feed, and it made me smile. Her husband David is an infectious disease doctor in the Bronx working at the hospital around the clock, and I just want to shout out a thank-you to him and all the physicians and hospital workers on the frontlines. Here is your Friday dose of Pantry, Project, Purpose…
Pantry: Quinoa Bowl with Spinach, Egg, Onions
Fun fact: this month marked Dinner: A Love Story’s 10-year anniversary, and I was planning on launching a Greatest Hits series in honor of the occasion. (So much for that!) This bowl, one of the first things I wrote about here, would’ve most certainly made the cut. I can’t believe how often it rescued us in the early days of parenting, on nights we wanted something quick, healthy, and satisfying after getting the babies to bed.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup of quinoa and simmer, covered, until tender, fluffy, and water is absorbed — about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Yields about 4 cups cooked quinoa. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup of quinoa and simmer, covered, until tender, fluffy, and water is absorbed — about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Yields about 4 cups cooked quinoa.
For Onions & Spinach:
In a small frying pan over medium-low heat, saute half a sliced onion in olive oil, a dash of sesame oil, and some red pepper flakes for about 10 minutes or until they are soft and sweet. Add two generous handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach and sautee until wilted/thawed. If you have kitchen scissors, use them to chop the fresh spinach while it cooks.
For 7-Minute Egg (you can also just do regular old fried eggs in the same pan you cooked your onions and spinach)
Fill a medium pot with water about 2/3 of the way full, and bring to a boil. Reduce to an aggressive simmer and, using a slotted spoon, slowly lower 4 eggs into the water. Set your timer for exactly 7 minutes. While your eggs simmer, prepare a bowl of ice water, and plunk the eggs directly in there once the timer goes off. Remove after a minute. Remove shell and slice in half.
Divide quinoa between four bowls and top with spinach-onion mix, halved egg, and a generous drizzle of soy sauce. If you want some extra heat, add a few drops of Sriracha.
Project: No-Knead Bread
Remember this famous Jim Lahey bread, that was maybe one of the first recipes to break the internet? It’s every bit as satisfying as it was a decade ago. In terms of timing, I find it’s best to start the night before you want to go to eat it, preferably right before you go to sleep. That way it rests overnight and you can fold it first thing in the morning.
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 heaping teaspoon sugar
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and sugar, and whatever flavorings (rosemary, thyme, Parmesan, all optional). Add 1 5/8 cups of water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a large plate. Let the dough rest for at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, as much as 24 (it’s very forgiving) at a warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
But, after about 6 or 8 hours, give the dough a good folding for about fifteen seconds.
After 18 hours, the dough will be batter-like and spongy. Use a rubber spatula and fold it over on itself a few times.
At least a half hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450°F. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (Le Crueset, cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic) in the oven as it heats.
When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Sprinkle flour in the pot (this will keep the loaf from sticking). Slide the dough into the pot. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough, (along with a dusting of cumin seeds or rosemary and a dash of coarse salt, for instance). Cover it with a lid and let it bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and let it bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Let it cool on a rack. Yields one loaf.
Purpose: Pizza Relief!
The Parlor, our local pizza place run by Dave DiBari, launched a mission to donate 150 pizzas a day to people who need some…love and pizza. When you call for takeout, he’s asking for an additional $13 to send a free pizza to hospitality industry workers hit hard, children and families in need, and, above, grinding hospital workers. In your hood, maybe send a pizza (or just a note!) to a nurse, a food service worker, a doctor or someone you appreciate today? People are good!
The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what you’re up to, and how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at email@example.com.
That bread looks delicious, and like a good lesson in patience (for the whole family). We have all the time in the world now to let things rest and rise as they’re ready.
Do you know what the adjustments would be for (very) high altitude? We’re at 7300 feet in Mexico City, about 2000 more than Denver, which makes so mi of our cooking and baking an experiment in and of itself.
I’m sad about the circumstances, but I sure love hearing from you every day, Jenny! Teacher (temporarily home) in the Midwest, with three young adult children: two in the medical front lines and one without work (or pay) in Brooklyn. Sending across the miles.
That was supposed to be sending love – my heart emoji didn’t come through
I love the pizza idea! My Girl Scout Troop is doing something similar – soliciting donations for boxes of cookies that we’re donating, along with thank you notes the girls are making, to our local hospital and schools. Makes us feel like we’re contributing something in these stressful times!
Thank you a hundred times over for this series. As a person who is easily overwhelmed, I love your ideas for direct action. Keep ’em coming.
I love the pizza idea too! We’ll do the same over here. CSA box arrived yesterday at dinnertime so we are in good shape with food. Today was a better day because we didn’t have any food panic. I was thinking about pantry recipes yesterday and thinking linguini and clams is our ultimate pantry dish. Shallots, canned clams, a little wine and parsley from the garden. That was the plan had CSA not arrived. We had homemade pizza tonight and I was able to take a walk between helping with the kids’ remote learning. I’m a better parent after I’ve taken a walk.
Your bread loaf is beautiful! very good browning! And the egg is perfectly cooked. Yum! And happy DALs Birthday!
Thank you for continuing to write daily. I love to check in here. It’s helping during a very challenging time. Great idea to send pizza.
Please know how much I am enjoying this series! My kids and I made the m&m cookies earlier this week, and made chocolate pudding tonight. When we hit the 4 pm slump, I have been heading to your site to look for kitchen inspiration (as they love a project). Thank you!
Love all of this! We would love some creative and easy bean recipes!
i’ve made that bread twice now…so satisfying!
Oh my gosh, did they finish Bojack Horseman? I thought the couplet of the last two episodes was ultimately so awfully perfect, it almost kept me from falling asleep!
My daughter said the last episode made my her stare into space for ten minutes to help let it process.
I made the quinoa bowl last night with rice because our pantry didn’t have quinoa. It was delicious, and those may be my new favorite kind of egg! Thank you bringing creativity and variety to my family’s pantry cooking.
But when do you add the sugar to the no-knead bread? Thanks
with the dry ingredients — sorry that wasn’t clear, all fixed…
That illustration is from the inside cover of one of my (now teenage) kids’ all time favorite books…”Oh, What a Busy Day!” by Gyo Fujikawa. I got it secondhand when they were babies and it’s one of the few books that I have saved for my future grandkids. Thanks for the memory!!! And thanks for what you do here at DALS!
Hi! Thank you for your awesome recipes! Do you think kale would work instead of spinach in the quinoa bowl recipe?
Thanks for this series… I’ve been enjoying reading your posts. Random question: I’m on the lookout for sturdy, non-plastic pantry storage containers and am curious about the brand shown in the photo with the bread. thanks!